©Google / Niantic Labs
Photo: Google’s Niantic Labs

18th Entertainment Division Grand Prize


Mobile gaming application

Google’s Niantic Labs (John HANKE, Founder) [United States]


Ingress is a mobile application which transforms the real world into a massive multiplayer mobile game based on real-world locations, including cultural landmarks such as public works of art, historical sites, and unique works of architecture. Ingress uses GPS and a global mapping database to merge a fictional world with the real world. Players explore the world around them using their mobile phones seeking “Portals”, mysterious rifts in the universe which are believed to be leaking a mysterious form of energy known as “Exotic Matter” into our world. This energy, which has been found throughout history at sites of human civilization, is believed to make humans more intelligent and creative. It may also be the carrier of messages from some other intelligence outside of the known universe. Players in the game are divided into two groups, the “Resistance”, who oppose the mysterious “Shapers” responsible for the Portals and Exotic Matter, and the “Enlightened”, who accept the Shapers. Players must work together with their allies in order to increase their group’s territory. The Ingress experience is designed to motivate players to leave their homes, explore and interact with other players in the world. It is also designed to lead players to places of unexpected beauty or cultural significance no matter where they are in the world.

Reason for Award

The Internet has become the basis for creating new culture. We have chosen a lifestyle today where we are always carrying our connected devices. The Web is also not the virtual space we once imagined. Media Arts have in recent years been confronted by this question of how to portray the direction we are heading within this information environment. But, Ingress succeeds in presenting a decisive vision. The game adds the fictional Exotic Matter to a dynamic map shared by many people. Through elaborate structures and simple gimmicks, we begin to move around again on the real streets, along with other players all over the world. While your feet are tired from walking 20,000 steps in one day, the next you may be able to walk 30,000. “Tomorrow I will go further!” we think. We use various means to expand the territory for our activities; we are able to go anywhere. And so we encounter a world that continues to grow richer day by day. Ingress reconstructs the ordinary through the gaze of the traveler. (IIDA Kazutoshi)